Minister’s clarification on people gritting footpaths is unsatisfactory

East Belfast Alliance Councillor Laura McNamee has criticised the clarification provided by Minister Conor Murphy regarding whether people have liability for someone falling if they gritted a footpath. She said that his statement raised more questions than it answered and told the Minister to get government agencies to take responsibility and start gritting footpaths. Laura has been campaign on this issue for some time and recently secured the provision of a salt box for residents in Ardvarna Crescent in East Belfast.

Cllr Laura McNamee said: “I am deeply dissatisfied with the clarification provided by Minister Conor Murphy on this important issue. We have another freeze on the way and the Minister appears to have made little headway on this issue or on the issue of who will stand up and take responsibility for gritting pavements. On clearing footpaths, Minister Conor Murphy said that ‘There is no law stopping you from clearing snow and ice outside your home or business,’

What the NI Direct webpage says in its introduction is, ‘There’s no law stopping you from clearing snow and ice on the pavement outside your home or from public spaces. If you clear snow and ice carefully you are unlikely to be held liable – this has been confirmed by The Attorney General for Northern Ireland.’

Laura McNamee continued: “Those are both totally pointless statements as they don’t tell people what they really want to know. They do not at all clarify whether or not people who clear footpaths are free from any liability should someone fall and break their leg. The statements actually raise more questions than they do answers.

“For the Minister say that legal liability is unlikely is hardly a cast-iron guarantee.

“We also really need the Minister to really take a handle on the situation and get the government agencies, be they Councils or Roads Service to take responsibility and grit footpaths. There must be no more confusion as the weather conditions look set to worsen in the coming days.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *